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The Republic for Which It Stands
The United States During Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896
"During Reconstruction Northerners attempted to remake the United States in their own image. They would make incarnate the new world Republicans imagined at the end of the Civil War. That new world seemed possible because the Republican Party controlled the Union in 1865 as fully as any political party would ever control the country. Reconstruction would produce a nation built around free labor with a homogeneous citizenry whose rights would be guaranteed by a newly empowered federal government. Black as well as white citizens would inhabit a largely Protestant country of independent producers. They never realized that dream. The government's attempts to implement this vision confronted significant obstacles. Southern whites successfully resisted, and Indians resisted with far less success. Freedpeople both grasped the opportunities that the Republican vision offered them and attempted to articulate their own version of republican America. The United States became a nation of immigrants, Catholic and Jewish as well as Protestant. New technologies transformed the economy, as Americans significantly shifted into wage workers instead of independent producers. Capitalism produced the very rich and the very poor. The Gilded Age thrived where Reconstruction failed, the template of American modernity. The era was full of paradoxes. Notoriously corrupt, it also formed a seedbed of reform. It spawned racial, religious, and social conflicts as deep as the country had seen to date, but a newly diverse nation emerged. The newest volume in the acclaimed Oxford History of the United States series, The Republic for Which It Stands offers a magisterial account of the Gilded Age's real legacy that lies buried beneath its capitalists of legend and its corrupt politicians."--Provided by publisher.